The Bush family and the S&L Scandal
Neil, George Jr., George Sr., and Jeb Bush
The Savings and Loan industry had been experiencing major problems through the late 60s and 70s due to rising inflation and rising interest rates. Because of this there was a move in the 1970s to replace the role of S&L institutions with banks.
In the early 1980s, under Reagan, regulatory changes took place that gave the S&L industry new powers and for the first time in history measures were taken to increase the profitability of S&Ls at the expense of promoting home ownership.
A history of the S&L situation can be found here:
What is important to note about the S&L scandal is that it was the largest theft in the history of the world and US tax payers are who was robbed.
The problems occurred in the Savings and Loan industry as they relate to theft because the industry was deregulated under the Reagan/Bush administration and restrictions were eased on the industry so much that abuse and misuse of funds became easy, rampant, and went unchecked.
Additional facts on the Savings and Loan Scandal can be found here:
There are several ways in which the Bush family plays into the Savings and Loan scandal, which involves not only many members of the Bush family but also many other politicians that are still in office and still part of the Bush Jr. administration today. Jeb Bush, George Bush Sr., and his son Neil Bush have all been implicated in the Savings and Loan Scandal, which cost American tax payers over $1.4 TRILLION dollars (note that this is about one quarter of our national debt).
Between 1981 and 1989, when George Bush finally announced that there was a Savings and Loan Crisis to the world, the Reagan/Bush administration worked to cover up Savings and Loan problems by reducing the number and depth of examinations required of S&Ls as well as attacking political opponents who were sounding early alarms about the S&L industry.
Industry insiders were aware of significant S&L problems as early 1986 that they felt would require a bailout. This information was kept from the media until after Bush had won the 1988 elections.
Jeb Bush defaulted on a $4.56 million loan from Broward Federal Savings in Sunrise, Florida. After federal regulators closed the S&L, the office building that Jeb used the $4.56 million to finance was reappraised by the regulators at $500,000, which Bush and his partners paid. The taxpayers had to pay back the remaining 4 million plus dollars.
Neil Bush was the most widely targeted member of the Bush family by the press in the S&L scandal. Neil became director of Silverado Savings and Loan at the age of 30 in 1985. Three years later the institution was belly up at a cost of $1.6 billion to tax payers to bail out.
The basic actions of Neil Bush in the S&L scandal are as follows:
Neil received a $100,000 "loan" from Ken Good, of Good International, with no obligation to pay any of the money back.
Good was a large shareholder in JNB Explorations, Neil Bush's oil-exploration company.
Neil failed to disclose this conflict-of-interest when loans were given to Good from Silverado, because the money was to be used in joint venture with his own JNB. This was in essence giving himself a loan from Silverado through a third party.
Neil then helped Silverado S&L approve Good International for a $900,000 line of credit.
Good defaulted on a total $32 million in loans from Silverado.
During this time Neil Bush did not disclose that $3 million of the $32 million that Good was defaulting on was actually for investment in JNB, his own company.
Good subsequently raised Bush's JNB salary from $75,000 to $125,000 and granted him a $22,500 bonus.
Neil Bush maintained that he did not see how this constituted a conflict of interest.
Neil approved $106 million in Silverado loans to another JNB investor, Bill Walters.
Neil also never formally disclosed his relationship with Walters and Walters also defaulted on his loans, all $106 million of them.
Neil Bush was charged with criminal wrongdoing in the case and ended up paying $50,000 to settle out of court. The chief of Silverado S&L was sentenced to 3.5 years in jail for pleading guilty to $8.7 million in theft. (Keep in mind that you can get more jail time for holding up a gas station for $50.)
Today Neil Bush is working on closing a deal in Florida, where his brother Jeb is governor, to sell a software package to schools with his startup company Ignite.
Update 11/28/2003: Some of Neil Bush's business deals have been exposed in his recent divorce case. For more on this see:
It should also be noted that shortly after news of Neil Bush’s involvement in the S&L scandal hit the press his father, George Bush Sr., announced the Desert Storm campaign in Iraq, which subsequently had the result of making Neil’s name quickly fade from the headlines. In addition, while Neil Bush's divorce proceeding were exposing more backroom Bush dealings, America was once again bombarded with war propaganda for Operation Iraq Freedom.
The S&L scandal is by no means the only incident of questionable, and actually illegal, financial activity that the Bush family has been involved in. The line of questionable, illegal, and unethical businesses practices goes back at least to Prescott Bush Sr., George Bush Sr.’s father. Prescott Bush was a Senator from 1952 – 1963. Previous to his time as a Senator Prescott was a banker and businessman. Prior to the American entry into WWII Prescott Bush was director of Union Banking Corporation. Union Banking Corporation helped to finance Hitler’s regime. The Concentration Camps of Nazi Germany were labor camps that the Nazis used to make products for their regime as well as for sale to raise money. Prescott profited directly from the Auschwitz labor camp.
In 1942, after Hitler declared war on America the United States government seized the Union Banking Corporation under the Trading with the Enemy Act as a front operation that was supporting the Nazis. Much of the profits from the operation were already pocketed by Prescott however, and $1.5 million was put in a trust fund for George Bush Sr.
For more on Prescott Bush's ties to the Nazis see:
The issues of WWII will be revisited again later.
This is actually just the tip of the iceberg as far as the Bush family and business dealings are concerned, the topic is a book in itself. In the interest of brevity I invite you to research the Bush family business ties yourself, including those in Saudi Arabia, where George Bush made millions as an oil well developer, and George Bush’s $14 million deal when he sold the Texas Rangers, while leaving tax payers footing the bill.
For information on Prescott Bush Jr.'s economic ties to China see: